As the Crow Flies (Walt Longmire Series #8)

As the Crow Flies (Walt Longmire Series #8)

by Craig Johnson

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Overview

As the Crow Flies (Walt Longmire Series #8) by Craig Johnson

The eighth novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the Netflix original series LONGMIRE 

Craig Johnson's The Highwayman and An Obvious Fact are now available from Viking.

Embarking on his eighth adventure, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire doesn't have time for cowboys and criminals. His daughter, Cady, is getting married in two weeks, and the wedding locale arrangements have just gone up in smoke signals. Fearing Cady's wrath, Walt and his old friend Henry Standing Bear set out for the Cheyenne Reservation to find a new site for the nuptials. But their expedition ends in horror as they witness a young Crow woman plummeting from Painted Warrior's majestic cliffs. Is it a suicide, or something more sinister? It's not Walt's turf, but he's coerced into the investigation by Lolo Long, the beautiful new tribal police chief.



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143123293
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Series: Walt Longmire Series , #8
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 53,527
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

Read an Excerpt

As my good friend Henry Standing Bear says, on the Rez, even the roads are red.

I was trying to pay attention, but I kept being distracted by the crows plying the thermals of the high plains sky; it was raining in the distance, but the sun appeared to be overtaking the clouds—a sharp contrast of blue and charcoal that my mother used to say was caused by the devil beating his wife.

“She must’ve stolen the cash register.”

My attention was forced back inside and under cover, and I twisted the ring on my pinkie. My wife, Martha, had given it back to me before she died so that I could give it to Cady whenever she got married.

I looked up—the negotiations weren’t going well. It would appear that Dull Knife College had suddenly scheduled a Cheyenne language immersion class at Crazy Head Springs on the day of the wedding. We had reserved the spot well in advance, but the vagaries of the tribal council were well known and now we were floundering. The old Indian across from me nodded his head in all seriousness. I was negotiating with the chief of the Northern Cheyenne nation, and he was one tough customer.

“That librarian over at the college is mean. I don’t like to mess with her; she’s got that Indian Alzheimer’s. Um hmm, yes, it is so.”

I trailed my eyes from Lonnie Little Bird to the rain-slick surface of the asphalt—Lame Deer’s main street being washed clean of all our sins. “What’s that mean, Lonnie?”

“That’s where you forget everything but the grudges.”

I smiled in spite of myself and took a deep breath, slowly letting the air out to calm my nerves, as I continued to twirl the ring on my finger. “Cady’s really got her heart set on Crazy Head

Springs, Lonnie, and it’s way too late to change the date from the end of July.”

He glanced out the window, his dark eyes following my gray ones. “Maybe you should go talk to that librarian over at the college. You’re a large man—she’ll listen to you. You could show her your gun.” He glanced down at the red and black chief’s blanket that covered his wheelchair. “She don’t pay no attention to an old, legless Indian.”

Henry Standing Bear, my daughter’s wedding planner, who had made the arrangements that were now being rapidly unraveled, sipped his coffee and quietly listened.

“But you’re the chief, Lonnie.”

“Oh, you know that don’t mean much unless somebody wants a government contract for beef or needs a ribbon cut.”

Up until this year, Lonnie’s official contribution to the tribal government had been limited to falling asleep in council. A month ago, when the previous tribal leader had been found guilty of siphoning off money to a private account belonging to his daughter, an emergency meeting had been held; since Lonnie had again fallen asleep, and therefore was unable to defend himself, he was unanimously voted in as the new chief.

“She’s in charge of all the books over there and she’s full blood—that’s pretty much the worst of both worlds.”

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "As the Crow Flies"
by .
Copyright © 2013 Craig Johnson.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A top-notch tale of complex emotions and misguided treachery… Crow is a superb novel steeped in the culture of the American West.”—USA Today

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

Sheriff Walt Longmire would rather face down a criminal than deliver bad news to his only daughter, Cady. With her wedding only two weeks away, the Wyoming Sheriff is unhappy to discover that the Cheyenne Reservation has bumped Cady from her chosen nuptials site. But while Walt scrambles to find an alternative, the call of justice—not to mention an ornery tribal police chief—draws him away from wedding planning and into a very ugly investigation.

Upon learning that Crazy Head Springs is no longer available for Cady's wedding, Walt's best friend, Henry Standing Bear, suggests Painted Warrior as an alternative. As the pair contemplates the location's majestic cliffs, someone falls from the summit, and they hear "the liquid thump of the body striking the ground" (p. 21). Walt and Henry rush to the scene but, within minutes, the young woman who fell is dead and Lolo Long—the reservation's beautiful but prickly new police chief and Iraq war veteran—has shanghaied Walt into helping with the investigation. Walt is unsure whether the young woman's death was an accident, a suicide, or a homicide. But Lolo is certain that the young woman, Audrey Plain Feather, a one–time friend of hers, was murdered and is soon butting heads with the FBI agents who threaten to take the case away from her. Acutely aware of her own limitations, Lolo asks Walt to help her find the killer. Walt's own conscience won't let him walk away—even as he ignores Cady's numerous phone calls and the wedding venue is still up in the air.

It's a tricky situation. Walt has no authority on the reservation and can rely only upon his good reputation to enlist the aid of the locals. Moreover, suspects are plentiful and guilty of assorted crimes, including assault, poaching, theft, drug dealing, and statutory rape—if not murder. When the case's two prime suspects—Audrey's husband Clarence Last Bull and the hot–headed Artie Small Song—go missing, Walt turns the reservation upside down trying to find them. Then another body turns up just before Cady is due to arrive in town. This time, Walt knows for certain that a murderer is on the loose.

In As the Crow Flies, Walt Longmire finds himself torn between personal responsibilities and professional duties. Thoughtful and action–packed, Craig Johnson's latest is sure to please the many readers who are making Walt Longmire the most popular lawman in the West.

 


ABOUT CRAIG JOHNSON

Craig Johnson lives with his wife, Judy, in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty–five.

 


A CONVERSATION WITH CRAIG JOHNSON

Q. What was your initial inspiration for As the Crow Flies?

I spend quite a bit of time up on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow reservations, and they are strange and wonderful places full of some magnificent people. I am concerned with the ongoing problems of veterans in their reintroduction into society and thought “the Rez,” with its high percentage of individuals who serve, would provide a good background. There was also the rising specter of Cady’s wedding looming on the horizon, and I thought it was a good opportunity to get her and Walt and most important, Henry, back on the Rez.

Q. You seem to know quite a lot about Native American history. Was this a subject that interested you even before you became a novelist?

You know the old joke about how you get sixty–four Cherokees together and you’ve got a whole Indian. My grandfather, who was a blacksmith, was Cherokee and even though I look like the poster child for the IRGP (Indian Recessive Gene Pool), I’ve always felt a kinship with the Indian approach to things.

The Indians are a big part of where I live—an important, vital history of the high plains. All the other people have family that date back a couple hundred years in this country; the Indians, on the other hand, have been here for a lot longer. Native history has always been an interest of mine, but it is very often written by white people, so it’s the oral histories, the small stories that come from people’s mouths, not the big, textbook histories, that interest me.

Q. What kind of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite underrated writer at work today?

Brady Udall, the author of The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint and The Lonely Polygamist is a joy to, along with the working–class guys like Daniel Woodrell, Willie Vlautin, Frank Bill, Bruce Machart, and Donald Ray Pollock; their views on things tend to be a little darker than mine, but I enjoy their craftsmanship and their honesty. I don’t quantify my reading, but rather, just look for good writing—that leads me all over the literary terrain and into literary fiction, nonfiction, historical, and even poetry.

Q. Early on in the novel, Walt quotes Lolo some rather startling statistics about the number of police officers who accidentally shoot themselves. Did you make these up for the book, or are accidents really that common?

They’re true; frightening, huh? Like Walt says, don’t get me started on the common populace . . .

Q. Walt fought in the Vietnam War and Lolo served in Iraq. Do you think being a veteran makes a person better suited for a career in law enforcement?

Well, it certainly doesn’t hurt. The training and the experience of being in the military provide a framework of skills that are very difficult for the private sector to compete with—it’s kind of like how most commercial pilots have military experience simply because it would be difficult to log the number of flight hours you’d need without it. In the service, especially if deployed, you’re going to be in extreme situations that you might never encounter in personal/professional life, and those experiences are extremely valuable in law enforcement.

Q. “I was always surprised by the way the Indians referenced me through my deceased wife” (p.105). Do the Cheyenne always refer to the living vis–à–vis their dead?

In most Indian cultures you are your ancestors, so it goes back even further than that, but I think in this instance it’s just that Martha was a reference for Walt into the Indian world—she cut a wide swath before her death and Walt is continually reminded of her.

Q. Is the religious use of peyote still common within the Native American community? Were you drawing upon your own experiences to describe Walt’s inner journey during the peyote ceremony?

Yes, it is still common—and no, I can neither confirm nor deny my experiences concerning the use of peyote . . .

Q. Longmire, an A&E series based on your novels, is premiering in 2012. How involved are you with the production? Can you share any details about the show?

For Longmire, it was an interesting but pretty straightforward path. I’d been advised by friends in Hollywood to not option my work outright to one individual, be it an actor or a producer, but rather to attempt to get a “package deal” with a studio, with producers, a director, and writers already in place.

While making the rounds, an agent from CAA contacted my literary agent in New York and asked her if she had any books that were very strong on character—not just mystery, but any books. My agent pulled a copy of my first novel, The Cold Dish, from the shelf behind her and laid it on the desk between them. The agent from CAA wanted to know if there were any others, and my agent responded, “Not until you read that one.” I was lucky enough to have CAA assemble a team from the Shephard–Robin Company that had been involved with the production of shows like The Closer, Nip/Tuck and a number of others. With the backing of Warner Horizon, they were able to put together a smart script that captured the characters, place, and tone of my novels. It was two years in the process, but it was picked up and ordered to a full season, which is set to premiere on A&E this summer (2012).

I was made an executive creative consultant, and have pretty much been in the loop for the entire process. They flew me in for the three–week filming of the pilot episode, emailed me the scripts to go over, and even sent me DVDs of the auditions for the actors they were considering for the roles. I don’t think my experiences have been the norm.

Q. Despite his earlier plans to retire, Walt has kept his job as sheriff. Has he put the idea of retirement on the back burner for good?

Not really. Walt pretty much established a plan for getting Vic elected by retiring halfway through his next term and abdicating, allowing her the opportunity to sheriff for a few years without having to campaign in a general election. One of the complications, though, is the addition of Santiago Saizarbitoria with his similarities to Walt and his Basque heritage which make him a very viable candidate. So, we’ll see.

Q. Where might Walt be headed to next?

The next novel concerns a case of a runaway boy and a missing woman from a polygamy compound in the southern portion of Absaroka County. It has an undercurrent of King Lear but starts out relatively straightforward; then things get complicated.

 


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
(Spoiler Warning: Plot points may be revealed)
  • Both Lolo Long and Clarence Last Bull suffer from Post–Traumatic Stress Disorder. They deal with it in distinctly different ways, but neither one with much success. How could the government best help veterans return to civilian life?
  • Mrs. Small Song calls Lolo a red snake for serving "in the white man's army" (p. 84). Considering the way Native Americans have been treated historically, what allegiance—if any—do they owe to the American government?
  • A priest told Mrs. Small Song that "the peyote was a church and [she] could not go to two churches" (p.107) so the Cheyenne woman stopped going to the Christian church. How might the priest have handled the situation differently?
  • Were you surprised by Walt's willingness to participate in the tribe's peyote ritual? Do you believe that the peyote caused his visions, or was there a more spiritual force at work as well?
  • Who or what did the talking bear and crow represent for Walt?
  • "As the crow flies" is a common way of indicating the shortest distance between two points. Discuss Craig Johnson's use of the phrase as this novel's title.
  • "That would be the chief: broke from giving all his money away and broken down from running food from home to home and providing a sounding board to the people's miseries. This is not to say that the Old Man Chiefs had no power—their word was final on any subject of contention because they had proven beyond question that they had the people's best interests at heart" (p. 115). Who amongst our current political leaders might still be committed to public service if they were rewarded in a similar fashion?
  • Why does Erma Stoltzfus deny seeing Clarence?
  • In a nod to Sherlock Holmes and his Baker Street Irregulars, Henry's Birney Road Irregulars are the only ones to really help Walt find Clarence. Do most adults realize just how much kids are paying attention to their actions?
  • Walt tells Lolo that his wife, Martha, announced her pregnancy by saying, "People have been screwing this up for thousands of years; I guess it's our turn" (p. 204). Is Walt a good father?
  • Lolo's son, Danny, is five–years–old and has spent almost his entire life apart from his mother. Do you think it's harder for a child to grow up without a parent or close to one who is as deeply troubled as Lolo?
  • Craig Johnson closes the novel with Cady's wedding. How does this loving scene frame the violence that precedes it?
  • Customer Reviews

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    As the Crow Flies: A Walt Longmire Mystery 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
    Johnnyhairdo More than 1 year ago
    ok, i read the first Longmire book memorial weekend 2011. it took me until labor day the same year to read the next six, and i just finished as the crow flies. What i am saying is johnson is a fine author and the characters within his books are awesome. i actually met Craig Johnson at a book signing at the local B&N in Littleton CO. He was funny and very down to earth much like his main character. I highly recommend all the books in the Longmire series to anyone that likes to unplug for a little while.
    rangerrb More than 1 year ago
    read all his books ,each gets better ,.keepem coming rb
    judiOH More than 1 year ago
    this series never disappoints! walt is working with a new chief of police on the rez to solve a murder that first looked like a suicide. the twists and turns leave you unable to figure out the culprit. walt even takes part in a peyote ceremony, very interesting! while he is solving a murder on the rez, he is also supposed to be planning his daughter's wedding. henry is the wedding planner. the humor is subtle, but it's there. another very interesting walt longmire story. if you don't take the time to discover this series, you miss out on some great writing.
    bun More than 1 year ago
    Just like ALL the Walt Longmire series(7) it's great!!
    ElementaryPenguin More than 1 year ago
    It's hard to review this book without giving it all away, so I won't say much except Johnson's storytelling gets better and better with every one, and you won't regret buying this.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is probally my #1 or #2 out of the first eight novels...I agree with the other reader that these books are for anyone.. I don't understand how someone can give a book a glowing Review and only give It 1 or 2 STARS...RADAR...1102-2013...
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    My husband and I both enjoy the Longmire Series! We're excited that there will soon be a new one out and the show is coming back on tv.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A must read! Love the Longmire series, & this is the best yet.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Just heard about this series from my sister on Thanksgiving and have now read all but one in the series and one of the short stories. Loved them all. I love mysteries and learning about new places and how different people live and these books hit all of those areas plus! Definite buy!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Enjoyed the story, however, Craig Johnson, you need to bring your original characters back. My husband and I have read all of your Longmire books and fell in love with them. When one of us would laugh out loud, we'd say, "What part are you reading now?" Not so with your last two books. We miss Ruby, Vic, Lucian and Longmire's deputies. This last female cop is no Vic. Adding characters is okay but don't take away your original cast. They are the ones that made your stories great, and of course, your marvelous, creative mind. We are debating if we should continue to follow your stories.
    arlenadean More than 1 year ago
    Review: "As the Crow Flies" by Craig Johnson was a good well written dialogue mystery. This author is able to show a meticulously well plotted storyline that comes together in this Wyoming/Montana Western setting. In this novel, "As the Crow Flies" Sheriff Walt Longmire's daughter(Cady) is getting married in two weeks and it seems that the area that had been reserved for this event....near the Indian Reservation is not available....so Henry Standing Bear(friend) and Walt are to make other arrangements...about a location called "Painted Warrior." They go to this area which is a lovely area with high cliffs....however Walt and Henry witness a woman that falls to her death....and the storyline picks up from there. Now, we find Sheriff Walt Longmire is now trying to help with this investigation into this persons death. Was it a accident, suicide or was she pushed? Walt is nearly killed several times and what has happened with the help of the wedding plans? Here I will say you must pick up this read and to find out! There are some very interesting characters...Walt, Henry Standing Bear, Dog,Vic, Ruby, Feds, Audrey Plain Feather, Adrian, Clarence and especially the new rough and tough Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long(who seems to have a 'chip on her shoulder...coming home from Iraq suffering from PTSD'), Henry Standing Bear and Herbert His Good Horse, head of Human Services and Artie Small Song, another war vet and his elderly mother, a medicine woman and I am sure I have left out a few. I wasn't able to detect who was the killer, so I was kept turning the pages until the end. It was very interesting to learn during my read about the 'Cheyenne Nation, the Old Man Chiefs and the Peyote Ceremony'..... simply some amazing writing. If you are in for a intriguing western mystery... you have come to the right place..."As the Crow Flies" will be a good read for you. I did enjoy this novel that was neatly wrapped up in the end and would recommend as a good read.
    okayee More than 1 year ago
    The Longmire TV Shows are wonderful. We have all the books in the series so far. Next we will purchase them as we can for our Nooks. I would recommend The Walt Longmire Mystery Series to Men & Women. Young & Old. Craig Johnson is a Master at Story telling. I'm from Pinedale, Wyoming I understand the areas he is talking about. The Characters.are like old friends. The Stars of the Longmire TV Show are as I would have pictured them in my mind when reading the books. All in All wonderful plots & skilled acting & writing.
    Banditcat More than 1 year ago
    Craig Johnson is from WY... so am I... he writes about country I am familiar with and it makes the books very intersting. Craig is a fantastic story teller on paper and in person. One of the best authors to come along in years. His books a full of mystery, humor and just darned good writing. I would recommend reading the series, to date, to anyone that likes western mysteries.
    tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
    The thrust of this eighth Walt Longmire novel is two-fold. Walt and his sidekick, the “Bear,” also known as the Cheyenne Nation, are charged with arranging the wedding of Walt’s daughter, a formidable task for the two men. Meanwhile, they witness the death of a young woman, holding her young son, who falls off a cliff to her death (the boy survives). Was it an accident or murder? The event diverts the attention of the two, while they become involved with the investigation, although Walt is out of his jurisdiction. Complicating matters also is the fact that a new inexperienced tribal police chief is involved, and Walt sort of has to take her by the hand, mentoring her. While the story is straightforward on both levels, more important is the further insight into Walt’s personality, as he confronts the various personages with tact and psychology, especially his headstrong daughter and equally obstinate police chief. Recommended.
    Anonymous 6 months ago
    Love all the Walt Longmirebooks
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Great book! All the Walt Longmire stories are great & it's hard to stop reading!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    JWood43 More than 1 year ago
    An excellent story set on the reservation!
    Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
    Walt Longmire's daughter is getting married – but where … one choice of sites is marred when Walt and Henry Standing Bear witness a young local woman fall to her death during their scouting trip. Forget the wedding plans – what happened, or more importantly, who did it? “Longmire” fan favorite Vic Moretti pretty much takes this novel off, but the void left by her absence is filled by new tribal police chief Lolo Long. (These women are WAY too much alike to get along … now watch author Craig Johnson prove me wrong in a future novel.) I'll put this as basically as possible – Longmire fans know what to expect, and they will NOT be disappointed in this book. And people who are NOT fans of the Wyoming lawman and his crew – what's WRONG with you?? RATING: 5 stars. No explanation necessary.
    Angie_Lisle More than 1 year ago
    Longmire the show is true to the books in the same way that Midsomer Murders is true to Caroline Graham's books: the show captures the essence of the characters but takes liberties with plots, which keeps both formats fresh for viewers. The deviations between Longmire the show and Longmire the book-series continue to grow with each book; this book widened that gap. On the show, Zahn McClarnon plays Mathias, the Cheyenne reservation Chief of Indian Tribal Police. I personally like McClarnon, he chooses a lot of troubled roles so I immediately began imagining Mathias as a troubled individual with a backstory I ain't been told yet. But in the book, the tribal police chief is Lolo Long. She - yes, she - is an Iraq-veteran and new to the job. (If Lolo hadn't been such a firecracker, I probably would have continued to plug Zahn into the role during my imaginations of the reading. Her chip-on-the-shoulder attitude made such a presence that I wasn't able to swap them out, which is probably good because it's easier to keep the books separate from the show when I don't do stuff like that.) Lolo's a Lady Asskicker, probably the only female in Absaroka County who can go head-to-head with Vic Moretti and it will be interesting to see how these two get along in future books (because Vic stays in the background of this book). But, for now, Lolo's lack of experience spurs Walt into sojourning to the Cheyenne Reservation where he partners up with Lolo to show her the ropes as they try to figure out why a Cheyenne woman would take a plunge over a cliff with her baby in her arms, only to use her body in a way that saves the baby. Of course, it's murder. I guessed bits and pieces of the case but wasn't able to piece everything together until Walt did. One of my favorite things about this series: I love how personal relationships are drawn out over several books, making only brief appearances in each book. It prevents over-kill and this series, taken as a whole, is a superb example of how romances should be done.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The entire Walt Longmire series is wonderful. Mr. Johnson has really created some wonderful characters, but I have to say that I guessed (correctly) who dunnit about halfway through the book. Maybe I was only able to do so because I have read so many of his books back-to-back, so I have absorbed his style into my intuition. The action in this book was still remarkably written, and the newly introduced characters such as Lolo Long were phenomenal. So this is a 4/5 star book for sure. I loved it, but it is not one of my favorites because the surprise just was not there for me like it has been there for most of the other books in the series.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago